Ever since I heard about T-Mobile’s new uncarrier approach to cell phones and contracts (or lack thereof) I’ve been heavily thinking of switching from the only carrier I’ve ever really known in depth in order to get a taste of that new freedom. Finally a carrier who is giving the customers what they’ve wanted – essentially it’s like having our cake and eating it too. For the longest time we accepted the compromise that if we wanted a discount on a device we could certainly do so, but only in exchange for a contract that promises two years of loyalty. Every time I sign the contract I’m too enthralled with the idea of being just moments away from owning my new gadget, which had likely been the apple (or Android, or Windows, or whatever) of my eye for the past however many months. It’s only after a few days had passed and the euphoria of having a new toy dwindled did I ever really think about being with the same company for two more years.

That time is rolling around for me again and once I again I have to make the decision on whether I want to stay or leave. You see, when it comes to Sprint I'm in a bad place. They make the deal just sweet enough to stay, but there's a lot of downsides to it, as there is with probably any company. I've taken it upon myself to make a list of pros and cons of why I should stick with Sprint or if the only thing I'm "Ready Now" for is leaving the company.

It’s a short list that basically gets straight to the point: The plan is cheap because of a hefty discount but the 3G speed is the stuff of nightmares. I’ve mentioned before that I’m generally within WiFi range of places when I’m out and I only notice how slow the 3G in the rare cases when I’m not. You can tell I’m out of WiFi range when you see me wave my arm all over the place to try and “make it go faster” (it doesn’t work, but it does makes me feel better). Considering my iPhone is a 3G only device there's not a whole lot I could have done about it. However, on my next device I’m definitely getting a 4G LTE device so that’s where I feel kind of… stuck.

I like that T-Mobile explains where the pricing comes from. You know that you’re paying upwards of $100 a month for unlimited because $20 or so is going towards the price of your phone every month. After that initial 24 months is up it's good game - your bill decreases by however much you had been paying for the device because it's finally paid off. Other companies make you pay that same amount whether you’d technically paid off the device or not. It's just part of the deal. We agreed to it, we signed our names. Oh, you want out? Well, that's going to cost you a hefty fee. If you want to leave T-Mobile you still have to pay off the device, but at least you know why you're paying - you're kind of making off with the goods, so you should probably pay for it.

While the other features of T-Mobile’s uncarrier plans are nice, the most enticing feature is arguably the lack of contract. I mean, yeah, the hope is that you won’t feel the need to go anywhere else but the fact of the matter is that T-Mobile isn’t making anybody stay anywhere. It’s up to you. But if you decide to go somewhere else then you’re locked into a contract.

For me, right now, I’m in a good position. I can leave Sprint whenever I want because I’m not in contract. However, come July when my upgrade is available I would be signing another two-year contract along with it, and who knows how long the plan I am on will stay at the same price? Verizon and AT&T are out of the question for me, although they do have their benefits, and with T-Mobile I would end up paying about $40 more. It all boils down to what freedom is worth for me and if I could handle abysmal 3G for another two years.

I find it interesting that I, along with many others, keep coming up with excuses as to why we stick with our carriers even if we're not happy with them. Is it one of those things where it's the devil you know versus the devil you don't, or what? To be fair, T-Mobile's plans do seem like there has to be a catch somewhere along the line - and maybe that's where less-than-optimal coverage comes in. But realistically what is keeping us with these same companies?

But enough about me, I want to hear about your experiences! Why are you staying with your current provider? Let's hear some of the good experiences that you’ve had that makes you stay or perhaps some bad experiences that made you switch. Share your stories with me in the comments below!

Image via DigitalTrends

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99 Reactions to this post

"What keeps you with your provider?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Melissa Doucet Probably network coverage is my #1 reason I stay with Verizon, & they have a very good customer service dept.
Anonymous There isn't any one thing that does it more than NETWORK COVERAGE.
Enes Nadir Çomoglu "There are is no", wow. Yep, my grammar is undoubtedly suffering a seizure right now.
Enes Nadir Çomoglu What keeps me with my provider? My contract. Lol, no. There are is no contract system in my country. Vodafone is the only provider in Turkey that provides unlimited internet. That's the reason I stick with vodafone.
Curtis Owens If they provide what I need at a reasonable price without giving bad service. AT&T has lost my respect completely for land lines and what it does politically.
Eric J. Powers The fact that Verizon has the best cell reception, never drop a call! But if AT@T, was to get rid of contracts I would switch today.
Corey Hanson My never ending contract with At&t. Gotta have that new phone though
Facebook user The service but also the phones
Camar Green I have an employee discount with sprint and i come to find out I would be paying just about the same with Att or Verizon with better speeds, Just have to wait till my contract is up. Oh and Sprint 3G is basically unusable.
Danu Carrión Perales Unlimited data, but the awful data speeds keep me thinking about leaving
Andrew Bissel Nothing. Just got my nexus 4. Moving from Verizon to T-Mobile tomorrow
Eric Magana At&t's horrible customer service of course
Justin Lindland Unlimited 4G LTE Verizon.
Jason Roets Unlimited talk, text, and calling for under $80 a month with AT&T
David DiPilla Verizon is king no one can touch them
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Verizon Wireless!!
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Fast data speeds..
David DiPilla Verizon may do away with the contract their talking about it
Luis Robles Figueroa That has the cheapest price and no contract. T-Mobile...
David DiPilla Ya t-mobile has great prices and unlimited 4g but not the greatest service
Said Issa Here in Puerto Rico I'm with T-mobile unlimited 4g and everything for $70
Dusted Khillathirteen Dawgatronic I have had the unpleasure of giving T-Mobile a chance & benefit of doubt, after 1yr prepaid then 2yrs contract, I found out they've been falsely advertising unlimited 3-4G, after you pay find your phone running on "E" network 80-95% of your billing cycle but they continue to charge you for 4G, then an agent of T-Mobile came right out and admitted, that they have never been able to provide the speedy network they claimed in the central Texas area but have been trying-which is not what they promote on commercials or in stores when that contract gets printed up, their survice is no better than using Cricket, they'd been better off under AT&T, the only thing T-Mobile has going unique is Wi-Fi calling, oh even their Wi-Fi isn't as fast as average but the best way to use them.
Ryan Berding My contract and company discount
David M Tadros quality,good devices and great service
David DiPilla Sprint barley has 4g lol
Travis Bowen Verizon's superior coverage
Oscar Falcon The unlimited LTE on Sprint!!
Steven Pereira I walk into my local att shop and they know me--the service I get is outstanding. That is worth quite a lot to me.
David DiPilla At@t prices are very similar to Verizon so why not just switch to Verizon and have something better
Casey Sayers Unlimited (though horrible) data cheaper than t mobile
Gary Bollinger AT&T has one of the best services i have ever had besides there outrageous prices that's the only thing i don't like about AT&T other than that i love them!!! But i might switch to sprint virgin mobile or boost mobile
David DiPilla If Verizon service wasn't that good then it wouldn't be number one
David DiPilla People go to Verizon that's why they have the most customers lol more people are on Verizon then any other carrier
David DiPilla Lol I Have meet a lot of people that love Verizon I go on Verizon facebook page and you just hear complaint about their customers service only and I have been on t-mobile facebook page and I hear from people about how bad their service is and customer service I know for a fsct Verizon is number one in service but Verizon is pricey
Joe Czo Coverage (Verizon)
Cameron Walton Sprint good phone selection, and unlimited data.
Rene Robledo Sprint, truely unlimited data and good speeds
Kal El @DavidDiPilla Actually, the reason Verizon has the most customers, is because of all the little companies and spectrum they bought out. I personally have never met a Verizon customer who was satisfied with their service or their bill....
David DiPilla I was thinking switching to t-mobile cause their cheaper but I know the service won't be no where near as good
David DiPilla Verizon is rated number one for a reason and has the most customers for a reason
David DiPilla Had t-mobile years ago to many drop calls it doesn't work in certain areas I had sprint to their not bad I liked at@t it worked great in some areas but I also got a lot of drop calls I have Verizon now and their service is awesome the best I have ever had
Lawrence Lepes I like Verizon, because it has a better network. I also like AT&T, because of the SIM cards. You can switch the SIM cards when you want to upgrade the phones before the contract is up.
Mark E I am still on parent's contract with unlimited data with Verizon. Though I have always been a big fan of gsm so I might switch back soon to t-mobile with their unlimited data.
Tim Terbay I'm good with unlimited everything with T-Mobile. 4g works super great where I live and where I go. Can't wait for lte
TW Cooper the 2 year contract....
Mick Jetten Unlimited Data! & you guessed it! Im with Sprint! ;)
Edward Gonse Plan pricing and coverage. I have an iPhone on Virgin Mobile. The upfront cost was steep but I get what I need for under $50/month. The con of any prepaid carrier is paying full market price for the phone but the pro is the long term cost of the service. I'm paying less than half of what contract phone owners pay and without the hassle of being locked in for 2 years.
Brain Roopull I was briefly with TMO... the data was great, but coverage was spotty. It wasn't enough to leave them, though. Then, about 2 months into the contract, there was a storm that completely eliminated service at our house. We tried to hang with them for a while, but eventually gave up & went elsewhere. Great customer service, though.
Aaron Dean Att@t always gives me free stuff when i buy a phone and my fat coperate discount through spirit aetosystems. Last visit i got a free 300$ pair of beats headphones
Dan Cook Many work pays for it and its unlimited everything on at&t
Mark Fisher Jr. Tmobile got real unlimited data. It's slow after you use it all but at lease I don't have to pay overcharges.
Dan Daniel Company pays for ATT so ATT it is. If it were my money i would be on TMO
Skylor Mitchell Right now I'm "stuck" with Sprint because they're all I can afford right now, but I would like to switch to T-Mobile. If I were to switch to T-Mobile I'd have to pay my EFT of about $350, then pay or the device I want on T-Mobile (GS3 or Note 2 so $70-$200) and then probably pay the first month bill of $70+$20 for phone.
Kyle Hill Verizon has great coverage but they are starting to piss me off! Adding the upgrade fee, stopping the one year upgrades and now no more early upgrades at 20 months. And the plans suck... I just love the phones and good coverage. Their customer service is pretty good too...
Steven Quacoo- Dorby Sprint where u@
Anthony Ruiz Switches to sprint on Monday. I had tmobile and had many dead spots but always stood up for tmobile but sprint has amazing coverage.
Debbie Kains-Coupal T-Mobile has awesome rates, coverage and Data where I live! No more contracts, low down payments on high end phones, saving over $100.00 a month, now almost $150.00 less than other carriers (not naming names) for same exact service, no complaints here!
Jessica Rodriguez Verizon wireless, ever since 2005 my family everyone has Verizon. Best coverage in my area and pretty good phone selection however next year ill probably leave Verizon
Brain Roopull Virgin. $45 for Sprint's data & WiMax which is more than fast enough to stream Netflix. Why people think they need something faster than that is beyond me. Plus, no contract. Sweet.
Brain Roopull Bah! I know it's not the fastest, but to call it "unusable" is just silly. Granted, it's not the same in all areas, but I have driven from Atlanta to Dallas with Pandora streaming and Trapster running in the background. I can stream Netflix with no issues over their 3G in the Atlanta area. It does take longer to download big files, but it's not like that's what I'm doing with my phone the vast majority of the time. I've switched to Virgin Mobile now, because I can get Sprint's 3G & WiMax for $45 supposedly throttled at 2.5g, but even at 4g, it's never slowed down. I honestly can't imagine a scenario that justifies paying ATT or Verizon double outside of living in one of the few areas where Sprint's 3G isn't available. Data speeds, to me, are like the horsepower war with cars. A 3000lbs car with 300 horsepower was a hot rod a few years ago. Now, the silly auto-media tries to convince us that this is anemic. Pfft... People can pay more for what they'll never use all they want. I'll stick with paying the least I can for what I need. People can keep their bragging rights all they want.
Rodger Samiie Myers Verizon wireless... under a nice 20% discount on the whole plan and a Galaxy note 2 with 2GB.. Don't need unlimited since there is wifi wherever I go and I'm paying 30 less than sprint
Philip Merritt I don't know, I was with Verizon for seven yrs and the prices just kept on rising and finally I left. Their network is great and all but I still think they charge too much....Think about it, they have more customers than any other carrier but they charge more than any other carrier. Their infrastructure hasn't changed drastically either. Their motto is they'll pay for it if they want to stay on this network. But if people actually would actually stop going for that then they'd be forced to lower their prices.
Sergio Rubio Tmobile has the best value and I change phones constantly without having to worry about waiting for an upgrade. I've been on a value plan for a while and it suits me perfect
Michael Hercliff Verizon is the only carrier that works everywhere I go. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile don't cover a lot of area in Michigan outside the cities.
Stephani Espinoza Been with tmobile since 1999 or 14 yrs...It was not tmobile then, it was voicestream and fortunately living in Houston at the time, I had excellent service, no issues with billing, customer service or any other problems. Moved to central texas and no issues either. Its all about coverage and the price is right :D I even worked for them for a year and definitely enjoyed my employee discount!
Frank Porter AT&T's phone selection, coverage area and grandfathered unlomited data plan.
Joel Valladares My unlimited Data on AT&T and good reception everywhere with 4G LTE
Mauricio DeSean Cruz Cricket Wireless because now serving Houston TX 4G LTE
Andre Ball Verizon is the only national carrier with native coverage here. :(
Tim Springer I'm grandfathered into the unlimited data at AT&T with my iPhone 5 and my monthly bill is about $80; but I'd go back to T-mobile in a heartbeat if I could. I'm actually considering either unlocking my old iPhone 4 (which my kids use on wifi) and taking it to T-mobile, or take advantage of T-mobile's iPhone 4/4S trade-in offer for the (free-upfront cost) iPhone 5.
Randy B Hoopes Yup. I'm thinking of switching to tmobile also
Randy B Hoopes Handcuffs lol.
Jack Shu Have had 5 lines on verizon for over 17 years. With the latest round of changes, I'm looking for another carrier. First they get rid of annual contracts, then annual upgrades, then unlimited data, and now 20 month upgrades. I did some calculations and I'll save over $100/month by going with tmobile. True there is less coverage, but I'm using my lines in the same area 95% of the time and it has tmobile coverage in that area, the other 5%, tmobile has coverage in maybe 50 to 75% of those areas. so lose about 1 to 2 % of useability for $100 less a month and no contracts will be worth it.
Matt Cain Verizon has the best coverage in my area an we just got LTE. I also have never met a rude or incompetent Verizon employee. I get treated like I am the most important person to them at that moment. That's what I expect from a company I do business with.
Jordan Williams T-Mobile, and because despite what many say, I've never had a problem with the service for ten years. Also, Nexus 4
Andrew Martin I stay with Verizon I have unlimited Internet on a iPhone 5
David Slawter Excellent wireless coverage whether for phone calls or internet. Go Verizon Wireless! I love to go out in the sticks and I get great service everywhere I walk and hike.
Dustin Carney Ive been with them for 2 years, and i called when my gram didnt like her phone, asked for an upgrade without the 250 upgrade fee, and they asked their supervisor, and i did the same for me, just dont start raging on the phone and let them know that you have been with them for however long and you have paid alot of money
Danny Chavez Cuz I don't pay for it
Justin White how?! teach me your ways! lol
Emanuel Ringo 3 (Three UK) esp with an HTC
Larry L Roe Cheap cost and A1 prices
Mark Belkowski Too bad their data is so slow its unusable.
Tony Allen The best coverage. Period.
Gary Bowling I am no longer loyal to these providers, they serve to nickel and dime their user base to the ground.
Matt Shipley Unlimited everything!
Jaleesa Gordon Because I have unlimited data with LTE thanks to Sprint :)
Jesse Ling Great monthly rate and devices that are right for me
Dustin Carney upgrades every 18 months+if i call and ask nicely they give me on every 6 att =D
Doug Utz I've been with Verizon/Alltel and whomever Alltel sucked up before, for over 20 years now. I stay with them because their customer service has always been top notch when I've had reason to contact them and their service itself has always been reliable and consistent for where I live and work.
John Cruz Having good 4g lte,good coverage and being grandfathered into unlimited data for $30
Dale Junior Lte and good service. Can't put a price on quality. I was with Tmobile for 6 years. Now with Verizon. Much rather pay more for better and faster service and... ENGLISH SPEAKING CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!
Felipe Acevedo Sprint FTW! Truly unlimited data! And more value for your dollar! And my phone has LTE!
Marcus Edwards The fact that I passed the credit check. That's about it.
Kal El Sprint. Unlimited, non throttled data, etc. And the lowest price.
Rich Hernandez Verizon being the best in the US.
Mark Belkowski good wireless signal and lte.

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